A Plum Demonstration Centre will now receive funding from AHDB to demonstrate ‘best practice’ and increase the use of new technology by tree-fruit growers. Not only will growers be able to view the results of the Innovate UK plum project, but the ready-made centre will now also support the development and demonstration of other new technology, to increase the growing season and sustainability of tree fruits.
The centre was established by NIAB EMR and is located in Kent. The funding will help contribute towards its further development and the running of the centre.
AHDB Knowledge Exchange Manager, Scott Raffle said: “This new Plum Demonstration Centre offers growers the opportunity to see the results of a number of research projects in practice, such as soil management, weed control, organic mulches, SWD control and earwig-safe spray programmes. Enabling growers to see the results of research in practice means they can have confidence to invest in new technologies and innovation. This will help them to increase the length of their growing season and make their produce more sustainable, through an increasingly challenging period.”
Three other orchards have been planted by commercial plum growers in Kent to showcase different plum varieties:
1. C Hulme & Sons planted a number of early fruiting varieties
2. S W Highwood planted late varieties
3. G H Dean established a new plantation of varieties with high yield and quality potential
According to an item on ahdb.org.uk, it is also planned to seek support from machinery manufacturers to demonstrate a wide range of cultural techniques such as mechanised weed control and flower/fruitlet thinning.